late 15c., "immoral woman," later (16c.) also "rascal, knave" (regardless of gender); probably from a continental Germanic source, compare Middle Flemish sloovin "a scold," sloef "untidy, shabby," Dutch slof "careless, negligent," Middle Low German sloven "put on clothes carelessly," from Proto-Germanic *slaubjan, from PIE root *sleubh- "to slide, slip." Meaning "person careless of dress or negligent of cleanliness" is from 1520s. Also see slut.
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